3 Ways to Combat Against Childhood Obesity
When I think back to my childhood, I realize that the lack of technology allowed me to grow up at a healthy weight. The school didn’t have any computers until my senior year, and even then all it could do is play blackjack. If we were lucky, we had three channels, and we grew most of what we ate.
That meant that we got a lot more exercise (though we called it “play”), ate a lot of vegetables and didn’t spend a lot of time staring at a screen. If you look at the way we live today, is it any wonder there is a problem with childhood obesity? However, with a little help, it can be prevented and the kids can get to a healthy weight.
1) Educate: First, educate yourself. Find out what you need to do to help your child. You’ll need to study nutrition, how much exercise your child needs on a daily basis. You may want to find out if there are any organized sports in your area that would interest your children. One of your best resources in educating yourself is your child’s pediatrician. He or she can also help you understand what your child’s ideal weight would be for his/her age and body structure.
Once you’ve educated yourself, it’s time to educate the kids. You don’t have to do it in a boring way, if you can make it fun and interesting, you’ll get much better cooperation. Take the kids with you to the supermarket and let them help you pick out fruits and vegetables they actually like. Explain to them that exercise is important, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Also, remember that vigorous play is still exercise.
2) Encourage: If your child is already overweight, he or she is going to need a lot of encouragement. Not only will the child have a poor body image, he or she is likely to be the constant target of schoolyard (and schoolroom) bullying. It’ll take a lot of encouragement to help your child overcome these obstacles, but it is very important. These two problems feed on themselves quite literally, as your child turns to food as a source of comfort.
3) Example: One of my favorite sayings is that “kids will do 80% of what you do right, but 100% of what you do wrong.” If you don’t eat healthy when they aren’t ‘re not likely to do so. If you don’t exercise, they will resist it also. Leading by example is one of the best methods of gently nudging the reluctant child in the right direction.
In case you’re thinking that there is too much fuss over this issue, let me point out what someone in the upper ranks of the military mentioned a short time ago. Childhood obesity is becoming a national security risk. More and more of our young people are rejected by the military because they are not healthy enough to endure it.